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Thread: Gauges for Combat Flight Simulator

  1. #126
    SOH Staff
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    i suggested multiple hurricane switches
    because i like the straight forward design
    and i mistakenly thought multiples might be easy to produce.
    of course, i was wrong.

    i've never seen the A.C. TYPE B-5 before and have to admit
    i would happily take a couple in a heartbeat.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  2. #127
    Actually you were right, Smilo.
    Multiple simple identical gauges is much easier to program than a more integrated single gauge.
    The problem for me is that the gauge used by USAAF and presumably USN multi engine types was the one in the photograph or something very similar made by a different manufacturer. Anything I build if and when I can will be by KPWGAU rather than the A.C. Delco Company as in the photograph.
    If I can get the mouse stuff working, I should probably try multiple Hurricane Magnetos first. It is a whole lot simpler.
    I was playing with it last night and basically it only has two mouse areas to deal with and both are just toggles for on and off.
    The B-5 gauge has at least six mouse areas for the three switches that are on each gauge and some of them interact with both engines.

    - Ivan.

  3. #128
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    interesting...
    granted, i haven't delved into the gauge programing,
    but, i thought the hurri mag would have four mouse areas.
    basically, two magneto toggles, each with an on and an off spot.

    the B-5 master on/off is an interesting added touch.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  4. #129
    Hello Smilo,
    Actually not four but two because each Magneto only has one mouse area.
    It works to toggle from whatever it currently is to the opposite setting.
    There isn't an on or off spot, just a "flip" spot.

    I was a bit surprised too, but no matter where you click on that side, it just flips that switch to the opposite setting.

    By the way, I don't know for sure how the center On-Off switch on the B-5 gauge works, but that is how I plan on programming it until I find out otherwise. If I find out first, I will probably forget by the time I actually get a gauge mostly programmed.

    - Ivan.

  5. #130

    Gauges to Fit the Aeroplane

    Hello Smilo,

    Just out of curiosity, what aeroplane were you intending the Magneto Switches for?
    I noticed your comment that the switches in the Lancaster were "A$$ Backwards" which I presume means that On is Down and Off is Up?
    I did a quick search earlier today and found that this is actually correct operation at least for the Lancaster.

    - Ivan.

  6. #131

    Odd Behaviour

    Last night while doing some experimenting, I found out something rather amusing that I had not heard about before:
    The Magneto Switch of the stock P51D Mustang is reversed!?!
    Apparently the Right and Left Magnetos are switched!

    This can be confirmed by checking against the stock Hurricane I or P47D Thunderbold Gauges.

    Has anyone else noticed this before?

    - Ivan.

  7. #132
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    no, i hadn't noticed.
    but, then again, i've rarely used it.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  8. #133

    Books and References

    Hello Smilo

    My Son and I just got back from the annual local IPMS Model Expo.
    At the tail end of the show, I saw a book about British Aircraft Instrument Panels which would have been a great reference for this discussion.
    Unfortunately everyone else was starting to pack up and we also wanted to catch a few other vendors before the end of the show.
    (Folks usually start packing up about 2:30 even though the show is scheduled to 4:00 PM.)

    I already have a book on Aircraft Cockpits, but many of the aircraft do not have a photograph showing where the ignition / magneto switches are.

    - Ivan.

  9. #134
    Here is what the Dual Magneto Gauge actually looks like when installed on the "Panel" of a P-38 Lightning.
    These aeroplanes tend to have stuff all over the cockpit, so it will be interesting deciding where to actually put a gauge like this.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails s-l1600.jpg   P1590863.jpg  

  10. #135

    Late Status Update - LONG!!!

    Hello All,

    I had not mentioned this before because I really was not sure where it would lead but things are looking pretty promising at this point.

    Back in late March, I posted a yet another comment / question about not being able to get the Mouse functions to work in CFS.
    A little while later, I got a PM from a fellow called ChrisK who offered to help me figure out what was going on.

    We needed first to get in sync.
    I believe he was intending to teach me basic Gauge Programming while all I was really looking for was to get some kind of response from the Mouse. After all, that was the major roadblock to building anything else worthwhile.
    The other part about getting in sync was that my goal is to have Gauges that work on everything as far back as Windows 98.
    My Game Machine used for testing is a Windows 2000 box.
    My interest is just in Combat Flight Simulator and Gauges NEED to work there.
    ChrisK set up his own copy of CFS so we would have a comparable test environment.
    We found out pretty early on that the newer compilers did not generate useable Gauges for the older Operating Systems.
    The Gauges he compiled would work fine on his machine but although they would not crash my simulator, they would not display either.
    Eventually he went back to a very old (circa 1996) compiler and his Gauges started showing up on my Test Panel.

    The problem though is that although they would display, they did not react to the Mouse.

    After a couple cycles of a hearing that a Gauge worked properly on his machine and then finding that it did not work on mine, I remembered something unexpected that I had encountered when working on the Trim Test Gauge a while back.
    I wanted the Trim Test Gauge on its own Panel because it took up a lot of room at the side of the screen.
    The problem was that when I first put it on a blank (all Black 0,0,0) background, it did not display at all.
    I had also noticed that when leaving the simulator with the Test Panel being displayed, the Gauges that were not on some non-Black background would disappear first.

    I edited the Panel Background to add a non-transparent, non-Black area behind his Gauge and the Mouse functions WORKED!
    I then tested a stock Gauge by moving it to a transparent area of the Panel and its Mouse functions STOPPED working.
    Next, I tried the same SDK Fuel Selector we had been testing but compiled on my computer this time and it also worked.

    Note that in most of my screenshots of Gauge Tests, the new Gauge is set anywhere there is space on the screen which means that it is usually on a transparent area. The Gauges DISPLAY just fine anywhere on the screen. The Mouse functions needed to have some opaque background behind the Gauge in order to work.
    So essentially what had been happening was that the compile SDK Gauges wore working just fine all along; I was just not using them correctly and had not figured this out for the better part of a year.

    After this little discovery, ChrisK noted that the Gauges should respond to Mouse events no matter where they are located.
    I went back to the Test Panel.cfg and started changing it to match one of the stock Panels.
    Eventually I found that the Render_3D setting was the culprit.

    Since then, I have been using ChrisK to answer questions about how to do things and where to find the information I need to understand how things work. He seems to be quite patient with what must appear to be fairly stupid questions and often provides a code fragment to illustrate the proper usage.

    It isn't often that one runs into someone who knows a subject this well and ChrisK is certainly a master in this field.

    - Ivan.

  11. #136
    Hello Ivan,
    Glad it´s starting to make sense! It sounds quite complicated, this issue with old
    gauges and newer computers. There seem to be quite a few factors of influence.

    I remember trying to make the mouse work on an old modified FSFSConv dual-throttle
    gauge I had put on the main panel of the Martin A20 Baltimore.

    It wouldn´t work because of the Render-3D setting, and Smilo pointed out the need
    for an extra window with its own background bitmap and without the Render-3D setting,
    to make it mouseable.

    This would be in line with the problems you were having, only that in your case it was
    more difficult to find the solution because it also involved actually compiling the gauges.


    Cheers,
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  12. #137

    WEP gauge?

    Hello Ivan,
    There is one thing I have always thought about:
    There must be a CFS1 parameter accessible by a Gauge-making programme
    that would enable a gauge programmer to programme a mousable WEP gauge.
    Perhaps it could include a counter counter or timer to show the pilot how long
    he´s got left before he ruins the 5-minute methanol-alcohol boost system - or
    in the case of WEP option 3, cripples the engine to 50% of its power.
    Cheers,
    Aleatoyrlamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  13. #138
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    The option does exist. The Gauges already exist on the Test Panel by Mr. Beckwith.
    I don't think he has a button to control WEP, but he does have a gauge to show elapsed WEP time.

    - Ivan.

  14. #139
    Hello Ivan,
    Yes, you´re right, thanks. I found the parameter called WepT - i.e. WEP Timer -
    on the Beckwith panel. Types 1 and 2, Water Injection and Methanol-Water,
    both appear to time out at 312 seconds, and WEP type 3, at 315 seconds.


    So, looking at a boost gauge would be enough to see if WEP is on or off,
    of course,
    although I was thinking about a light, and then a WEP timing gauge
    would
    be practical. Anyway, it was just a thought.
    Cheers,
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  15. #140
    Hello Aleatorylamp,
    The "WEP On" Indicator Gauge is such an easy thing to program (Famous last words) that I am sure someone has done it already.
    I actually had my own ideas about a more intelligent WEP Duration / Indicator Gauge but there are a couple higher priorities at the moment.
    I need a couple Twin / Multi Engine Gauges for the Lightning and Mitchell.
    It also helps that those Gauges are in an area that I am trying to learn about at the moment.

    - Ivan.

  16. #141

    Japanese Manifold Pressure Gauge

    One of the things that has bothered me for a long time with the panel that I created for the A6M2 and A6M3 was that although the general appearance of the panel was "in the spirit" of the original with concessions to CFS functionality, some of the gauges were not very good matches. They are functional, but the appearance is quite different from the actual Japanese Gauges.

    Recently I have been involved in forum discussions about the performance of different versions of the Mitsubishi A6M and was reminded of the panel issues when I took the CFS models up for some "Fun Flying".

    The Gauge that bothered me the most was the Manifold Pressure / Boost Gauge.
    The actual gauge that I was using was the stock Me 109 version which reads in ATA.
    I figured a new Japanese Manifold Pressure Gauge would not be that difficult and started working on the bitmap for the background last night.

    I thought the background would be fairly easy, but it actually took a few hours to get it looking the way I wanted. The only things that I could use from other gauges was the frame and screws and the colour scheme.
    Lining up tick marks is just plain tedious!

    The first image is of the actual gauge as removed from the first A6M2 restored and test by Allied forces in 1942.
    The second image shows the aeroplane in which this gauge will be used.
    The third image shows the panel with the new gauge installed.

    Oops, Unable to upload images. Will add images when I can figure things out.

    - Ivan.

  17. #142

    A6M Instrument Panel

    Attached (finally) are images of the new Boost Gauge that was created for the Mitsubishi A6M series.
    Hopefully the attachments will work this time.

    As can be seen, the old panel has gauges in about the right place but needs a few changes to be a bit closer.
    The Manifold Pressure / Boost Gauge was the first change.
    A German ATA Manifold Pressure Gauge just didn't seem right.

    Note that this particular gauge is quite different from the Japanese Army Manifold Pressure Gauge shown here:
    http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforum...=1#post1089767

    As some folks may already know, the Japanese Army and Navy did not really cooperate in anything until very late in the war and didn't use the same equipment when they could avoid it.

    When I first began working on this gauge, it was for the A6M2 or Type 0 Mk.I Fighter.
    I had thought that with the increased boost pressures in the engines for the Mk.II (A6M3 and A6M5), I would need a new gauge.
    I was rather unpleasantly surprised to find out that the later fighter used exactly the same gauge even though it was incapable of displaying the maximum boost that the new engines could achieve.

    From a functional standpoint, the gauge that needs an update the most is the Air Speed Indicator.
    The Japanese Navy used an ASI that displayed in Knots. This is the same kind of gauge that I needed for the F4F Wildcat and other USN fighters.
    The issue to be decided now is whether to build the gauge as one that shows the full range of values in two revolutions or just one.
    On a real aeroplane, there are plenty of visual cues to make it obvious whether the airspeed is 80 Knots or 280 Knots, but there is much less inside a simulator.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A6M_OldPanel.jpg   A6M_NewPanel.jpg  

  18. #143

    A Better Fuel Selector

    In the previous screenshots, it can be seen on the lower left of the panel that the Fuel Selector being used is from the stock Hawker Hurricane Mk.I.
    I picked it because it had the correct selections of Right, Center, and Left Fuel Tanks and did not have the distinctly American look.

    This gauge actually has a rather blurry looking set of bitmaps and typical single mouse area of stock CFS fuel selectors; My preference if a knob can be turned in two directions is to have two mouse areas so the pilot actually has a choice other than to cycle through unnecessary positions to get to a destination.

    Another problem with this gauge is that there appear to be four tank selections but only three are selectable. PORT, CENTER, and STBD are selectable. RESERVE (lowest position) is not selectable.
    This is quite interesting because there only happen to be three actual fuel tanks in a typical Hurricane.
    In the diagrams in the Pilot's Manual, they are refered to as the Port and Stbd Main Tanks and the Reserve Tank. (See Diagram)

    The actual gauge on the panel of the Hurricane actually does not have the label "RESERVE" at all which is not surprising because the Center Tank is the "Reserve" Tank. Instead, the label should actually read "PUSH FOR READING" (See Photograph)

    As usual, for a replacement gauge, generating new bitmaps will be the difficult part. The actual programming behind the gauge is almost identical to prior fuel selectors and is pretty trivial.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hurricane_FuelSystem.jpg   HurricaneFuelSelector.jpg  

  19. #144

    Markings

    Attached is an image pulled from the actual Hurricane Multi Gauge.
    Observant folks may have already noticed that there were other differences in markings than the ones I pointed out.

    As can be seen, M$ apparently didn't like the British spelling and changed CENTRE to CENTER
    We have already mentioned that "RESERVE" should be "PUSH FOR READING"
    The attached label plate doesn't actually say "FUEL TANK SELECTOR", It says "FUEL GAUGE SELECTOR"

    Since my gauge is really a "generic" fuel selector rather than specifically for the Hawker Hurricane, I will probably use the same kinds of markings as M$ did.
    One has to wonder though: In many circumstances, there may be a choice between authenticity and practical use on a flight simulator Computer Screen. Certain things do not make sense on the flight simulator because the interface is so different.
    These differences and choices to address them can lead to a pretty long discussion.

    On small gauge BMPs like these, M$ seems to prefer having overlays for the entire gauge face for each pointer position rather than just a pointer overlay. My own preference is for a separate set of overlays for pointers instead of the entire gauge face.

    Next step is to make sure I have the proper screw heads to use for this gauge.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hurricane_FuelSelect_1.BMP  

  20. #145

    Updates to P-40N Panel

    Hello All,

    The Fuel Selector for the Hawker Hurricane didn't get forgotten. It just got put on hold as more interesting things came up.

    Recently the subject has been updates to my P-40N (Hawk 87W) from a couple years back.
    This seemed like a good time to program a different Fuel Selector to replace the one stolen from the stock FW 190A.

    The "Completed" Fuel Selector is shown on the attached screenshot at the lower left corner.
    There are four positions: One for each tank and an Off position.
    On the actual Fuel Selector, there is a fifth position for the Drop Tank.
    Since CFS does not implement drop tanks, there is no fifth position on this gauge.
    This fuel tank arrangement was the same for most models of the P-40 though the labelling of the tanks was sometimes different.

    For the most part, this gauge is functional but I have not been able to find a way to detect which tank is currently selected even though I know it can be done. This does not cause problems unless something else (another Fuel Selector) is used to change tanks or unless something else sets a tank combination that cannot be displayed by this gauge.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P40N_Panel.jpg  

  21. #146

    Radiator Temperature Gauge

    As can be seen in the P-40N Panel in the prior post, many of the gauges we use for assembling a "new" panel are actually existing stock gauges. There is only one stock US aircraft, the P51D, that has an inline engine and the associated Radiator / Coolant Temperature Gauge and that is the one that seems appropriate when working on an American fighter with an inline engine.

    Unfortunately, the P51D Radiator Temperature Gauge does not appear to work.
    A possible solution would be to use the gauges from the stock Spitfires or Hurricane but although the functionality is addressed, the style doesn't really match.
    I was reminded again of this when testing some updates to my rework of Eric Johnson's P-39D.
    How do you tell the engine is warmed up when the Coolant Gauge is broken?
    I figured a new gauge (or set of gauges for all four engines) would be easy..... Famous last words!
    A couple days later, I believe I am finally done.
    It should not have taken so long when I was starting with existing bitmaps, and it would not have if I had not managed to find so many ways to make mathematical and programming mistakes.

    The first screenshot shows the stock P51D "Engine Temperature" Gauge and two new Radiator Temperature Gauges for Engine1 and Engine2 on a chilly Autumn day. Note that temperature which starts at 70 degrees Fahreheit has dropped to 58 degrees F and a digital gauge reads the equivalent in Celsius.
    Note that all three "Coolant" all look about the same.

    The second screenshot shows the three "Coolant" gauges with the engine fairly warm. Note that the stock P51D gauge isn't really dead but did change slightly. The other two seem to match up pretty well with the digital gauge.

    The third screenshot shows the Engine1 "Coolant" gauge showing the engine cooling off after ignition was cut. There are only ignition controls for Engine1 on the test panel.

    The new gauge set (at least Engine1 and Engine2) seem to work as expected for -70 C, 50 C, 90 C, and 150 C which takes care of a nagging problem with the stock gauges. They will be included in updates for my panels which currently use the P51D Engine Temperature Gauge.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ColdEngine.jpg   HotEngine.jpg   Engine1_IgnitionOff.jpg  

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